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winter, and I no longer run to the window to see whether the French are coming. But with so many enemies without, and so many within, the government of Berne, and the tranquillity of this happy country, will be suspended by a very slender twig; and I begin to fear that Satan will drive me out of the possession of Paradise. My only comfort will be, that I shall have been expelled by the power, and not seduced by the arts of the blackest demon in hell, the demon of democracy. Where indeed will this tremendous inundation, this conspiracy of numbers against rank and property, be finally stopped ? Europe seems to be universally tainted, and wherever the French can light a match, they may blow up a mine. Our only hope is now in their devouring one another; they are furious and hungry monsters, and war is almost declared between the Convention and the city of Paris, between the moderate republicans and the absolute levellers. A majority of the Convention wishes to spare the royal victims, but they must yield to the rage of the people and the thirst of popularity, and a few hours may produce a trial, a sentence, and a guillotine. M. Necker is publishing a pamphlet in defence of the august sufferers; but his feeble and tardy efforts will rather do credit to himself than service to his clients. You kindly ask after the situation of poor Severy. Alas! it is now hopeless; all his complaints are increased ; all bis resources are exhausted ; where nature cannot work, the effect of art is vain, and his best friends begin to wish him a quiet release. His wife, I had almost said his widow, is truly an object of compassion. The dragoon is returned for a few days; and if his domestic sorrows give him leave, he would almost regret the want of an occasion to deserve his feather and cockade. Your note has been communicated to Madame de Montolieu ; but as she is engaged with a dying aunt, I have not yet seen her. Madame Dagaisseau has hastily left us ; the last decrees seemed to give the émigrés only the option of starving abroad or hanging at home; yet she has ventured into France, on some faint glimpse of clemency for the women and cbildren. Madame de Bouillon does not appear to move.
Madame de Stael, whom I saw last week at Rolle, is still uncertain where she shall drop her burthen; but she must soon resolve, for the young lady or gentleman is at the door,
Demanding life, impatient for the skies. By this time you have joined the Ladies Spencer and Duncannon, whom I beg leave to salute with the proper shades of respect and tenderness. You may, if you please, be belle comme un ange; but I do not like your comparison of the archangel. Those of Milton, with whom I am better acquainted at present than with Guido, are all masculine manly figures, with a great sword by their side, and six wings folding round them. The heathen goddesses would please me as little. Your friend is less severe than Minerva, more decent than Venus, less cold than Diana, and not quite so great a vixen as the ox-eyed Juno. Το express that infallible mixture of grace, sweetness, and dignity, a new race of beings must be
invented, and I am a mere prose narrator of matter of fact. Bess is much nearer the level of a mortal, but a mortal for whom the wisest man, historic or medical, would throw away two or three worlds, if he had them in his possession. From the aforesaid Bess I have received three marks of kind remembrance, from the foot of St. Bernard, with an exquisite monument of art and friendship, from Turin, and finally from Milan, with a most valuable insertion from the duchess. At birds in the air it is difficult to take aim, and I fear or hope that I shall sustain some reproaches on your not finding this long epistle at Florence, I will mark it No. 1 ; and why should I despair of my future
since I can say with truth, that since your departure I have not spent so agreeable a morning ? To each of the dear little Caros pray deliver nine kisses for me, which shall be repaid on demand. My best compliments to Mr. Pelham, if he is with you.
MR. GIBBON TO THE HON. MISS HOLROYD.
Lausanne, Nov. 10, 1792. IN dispatching the weekly political journal to Lord Sheffield, my conscience (for I have some remains of conscience) most powerfully urges me to salute, with some lines of friendship and gratitude, the amiable secretary, who might save herself the trouble of a modest apology. I have not yet forgotten our different behaviour after the much lamented separation of October the 4th,
1791, your meritorious punctuality, and my unworthy silence. I have still before me that entertaining narrative, which would have interested me, not only in the progress of the cara famiglia, but in the motions of a Tartar camp, or the march of a caravan of Arabs; the mixture of just observation and lively imagery, the strong sense of a man, expressed with the easy elegance of a female. I still recollect with pleasure the happy comparison of the Rhine, who had heard so much of liberty on both his banks, that he wandered with mischievous licentiousness over all the adjacent meadows. The inundation, alas ! has now spread much wider; and it is sadly to be feared that the Elbe, the Po, and the Danube may imitate the vile example of the Rhine: I shall be content, however, if our own Thames still preserves his fair character of—
Strong without rage, without o'erflowing full. These agreeable epistles of Maria produced only some dumb intentions, and some barren remorse ; nor have I deigned, except by a brief missive from my chancellor, to express how much I loved the author, and how much I was pleased with the composition. That amiable author I have known and loved from the first dawning of her life and coquetry, to the present maturity of her talents ; and as long as I remain on this planet, I shall pursue with the same tender and even anxious concern, the future steps of her establishment and life. That establishment must be splendid ; that life must be happy. She is endowed with every gift nature and fortune; but the
advantage which she will derive from them depends almost entirely on herself. You must not, you shall not, think yourself unworthy to write to any man: there is none whom your correspondence would not amuse and satisfy. I will not undertake a task, which my taste would adopt, and my indolence would too soon relinquish; but I am really curious, from the best motives, to have particular account of your own studies and daily occupation. What books do you read, and how do you employ your time and your pen? Except some professed scholars, I have often observed that women in general read much more than men ; but, for want of a plan, a method, a fixed object, their reading is of little benefit to themselves or others. If you will inform me of the species of reading to which you have the most propensity, I shall be happy to contribute my share of advice or assistance. I lament that you have not left me some monument of your pencil. Lady Elizabeth Foster has executed a very pretty drawing, taken from the door of the greenhouse where we dined last summer, and including the poor Acacia (now recovered from the cruel shears of the gardener), the end of the terrace, the front of the pavilion, and a distant view of the country, lake, and mountains. I am almost reconciled to d’Apples house, which is nearly finished. Instead of the monsters which Lord Hercules Sheffield extirpated, the terrace is already shaded with the new acacias and plantanes ; and although the uncertainty of possession restrains me from building, I myself have planted a bosquet at the bottom